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Anglo left thumb melody note


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I play Irish music. Plenty of boxes have a left hand thumb operated drone note; what I'd like more than anything is a pull middle E - i. e., the same as the C4 button. This note is conspicuous in its absence by only being available on the push. 

 

I have no idea what it'd be like to use the left thumb as a melody note.  Do people with drone buttons tap them?  Certainly we dance on and off the right hand thumb button all day long, though. 

 

I'm wondering if my Kensington could be retrofitted with one, too. The left side fretwork mirrors that on the right side, so there's a spot with enough metal for another button; and I notice there's a spare chamber in the reed pans Dana builds.  Whether it's big enough for this note is another question, or whether the lever could get there; or if Dana could be bothered, of course. 

Edited by LR71
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On my new Carroll I followed a suggestion from Wally and got that pull E on the middle button on left hand outside row, where there's typically a D# (assuming an Anglo C/G).  I haven't made a lot of use of it yet, but I'm glad it's there, and when I remember it, it has come in handy for a tune or two.

 

Last year I spoke with Doug Creighton of The Button Box about customizing the left hand thumb button on their Morse ESB model.  I thought a pull E and and push F# would be a great help, but he cautioned that my thumb probably doesn't have enough dexterity to get those notes out fluidly in an ITM context, so I went with a D/D (drone) instead.

 

But you're absolutely right that we anglo players do give our right hand thumbs quite a workout,  although I'm sure mine isn't as quick and precise as other digits.  But maybe with enough practice....

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Thanks, interesting.  Hadn't thought of sacrificing the D#; kind of like having it there for certain tunes, really.  King of the Fairies, Pride of Petravore, Dunmore Lassies, etc.  Playing E with the thumb seems a better fit too, as one thing I'd like to be able to do is play GFED in one direction if so desired; using the middle digit on the outer row seems like it might really tie you up in knots.  Maybe I'll try that later with the D# and try to ignore what it sounds like...I can see how having a pull F# would let you play that all on the push too, that's good thinking.

 

Other thing I'd like pull E for is rolling or cranning.  Pigeon on the Gate, Drowsie Maggie, Ashplant, yes.  I always pull these if I have a choice, it just sounds stronger.   You could alternate E2BE etc without changing bellows direction, and have the option of doing so to mix things up.  The Anglo definitely has no end of possibilities here.

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That's the idea. We're talking about using it as a melody note though, this music can really fly at times. 

 

I tried playing GFED etc using the D# button - that presents no problem at all.  I might just have that note retuned. 

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I retuned the D# to a draw E but found when I wanted to use it in a sequence the finger I needed was often already in use for the note before or the note after. In the end I put an extra reversed F/E button on the right hand side at the top of the C row. (F because I already have a low F# on the push instead of one of the RHS D#s.)
 

The issue with a thumb button for melody on the left for me would be that my thumb is actively holding the concertina down on to my thigh. If you are not doing that then I don’t see why not. But reverse engineering a thumb button into an instrument without one would be major work. 
 

The reason some roll/crans are easier to make sound crisp on the pull is the pad is being sucked shut. On the push it is having to rely on spring pressure against the air flow and the result is less precise.

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17 hours ago, Chris Ghent said:

In the end I put an extra reversed F/E button on the right hand side at the top of the C row. (F because I already have a low F# on the push instead of one of the RHS D#s.)

 

At the top?  Where there's usually e'''/b''?  I use that high B all the time, myself; but then I play with the right hand side on my right leg, the opposite of the usual.  When I hold it in the conventional manner it's a lot harder to get the leverage to press the highest buttons, I notice.  How did you manage to fit in a low octave reed on the right hand side?  Thinking back on the pics I've seen of reed pans that doesn't seem so far fetched.  It's a bit odd to think of such a low note coming out of what's supposed to be the highest button though, like the accidental buttons on quint accordions, if you know about those - what you'd think would be the very lowest notes in the range actually supply semitones.  Some of those boxes have notes at the very highest end retuned to something more useful to modern players, too.

 

Quote

The reason some roll/crans are easier to make sound crisp on the pull is the pad is being sucked shut. On the push it is having to rely on spring pressure against the air flow and the result is less precise.

 

I never heard that explanation.  I always chalked it up to just finding the pull easier to apply pressure to.  My accordion tuner has clients who play Mexican music, norteno/conjunto etc., and he says their big thing is playing big long strings of notes on the pull, constantly breaking reeds in the process.

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